Houston Environmental News Update January 3, 2018

Happy New Year!

Last week, we shared with you the most significant accomplishments, controversies, issues, news, and events in the greater Houston region impacting the environment.

This week, as the new year begins, we ask you to share hopes and predictions for our greater Houston environment in 2018. Last year, our readers hoped to see Houston and Harris County commit ‘serious money to flood protection’, increased recycling, enforcement of EPA standards, work towards a comprehensive state water plan, and increased transparency pertaining to illegal dumping, industrial toxic emissions, and rail transport of highly dangerous materials.

Please take just a few moments to share your thoughts using our short survey.

Banner Photo Notes: Don’t ring in the new year with just bells, start off right with tree rings. Speaking of trees… Save the date for CEC’s “Stump the Treehugger” environmental trivia contest on May 20, 2018.

Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.


Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour: Tickets now on sale!

Following our wildly successful 2017 showing, the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is proud to bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour, one of the largest environmental film festivals in North America, back to Houston for the fourth year for two nights: Jan. 24 & 25, 2018!

We invite you to join us at the  2018 W&SFF On Tour to be held at the historic River Oaks Theatre, where up to 450 patrons each night will enjoy about 10 different films each night highlighting the latest environmental issues. We selected films that showcase the links between beauty, environment, adventure, quality of life, and action. By showing these films, CEC is working to connect individuals and organizations to create a stronger Gulf Coast environmental community.
Early bird tickets available until Jan. 10, 2018 on Eventbrite.


We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. One More Warbler: A Life with Birds with Victor Emanuel
    On Jan. 11, 2018, join Houston Audubon for one of their excellent speaker events, this time featuring Victor Emanuel. In addition to being an acclaimed, award-winning, and internationally recognized advocate for birds and conservation, Mr. Emanuel was the executive director–possibly the first–of the CEC in the early 1970s. Just sayin’. Learn more at houstonaudubon.org.
  2. Ride the Holiday Train
    Now through Jan. 7, 2018, the Hermann Park holiday train is back with extended hours rolling through the Park glowing with colorful lights! Take a festive ride on the decked out Hermann Park Railroad. Learn more at hermannpark.org.
  3. Orange you glad it’s citrus time? 
    Citrus is ideal for school gardens because they are low maintenance and have a bountiful harvest during the late fall and early winter. Consider a fruit tree for your school campus from Urban Harvest’s Annual Fruit Tree Sale on Sat., Jan. 13, 2018. See the class schedule to learn how to plant and care for trees so they will be fruitful for many years to come.
  4. Air Alliance Houston’s State of the Air Galaimage_1513109819.png
    The State of the Air Gala will take place Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Health Museum. Featured speakers include former Mayor Bill White and Dr. Robert Bullard, the father of Environmental Justice. Registration for the event is now open! If you are interested in serving as a host committee member or sponsor, please contact Jennifer Cate at 713-206-5505 or [email protected]
  5. A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Modernize Conservation Funding
    House Resolution 4647, also known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, would provide $1.3 billion annually from existing federal revenues for state-led projects to improve and restore fish and wildlife habitats, without any increase in taxes. This federal legislation represents a once in a generation opportunity to modernize conservation funding, provide more regulatory certainty for business and industries, repair the nation’s ecological infrastructure, and change the course of history for thousands of at-risk fish and wildlife species. Passage of H.R. 4647 would direct a portion of existing royalties from energy and mineral production on federal lands and waters to the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program, established in 2000. State wildlife agencies will distribute the money to projects for habitat restoration, scientific research, protecting land, establishing conservation easements, and other initiatives listed in each state’s Wildlife Action Plan. Learn more at Texas Wildlife Association’s Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Offers Opportunity To Help Wildlife and Business in Texas or directly access the text of H.R. 4647.
  6. 2018 Spring Charrette: Nexus – Activate Commerce
    Can design ingenuity create a new archetype that promotes aspirations for Houston? This year rdAGENTS are joining forces with AIA young professionals to host a design charrette to challenge teams to reimagine the site of the Meat Packing Building along Commerce street. The building site has potentials for reconciling history with forward-thinking design solutions integrating multi-modal travel options/ Teams will be asked to propose ideas that would answer two questions. Could a new building proposal mediate the desire to build along a downtown waterfront to promote urban revitalization yet meet the strict criteria for floodway construction? Or should the site be transformed to greenspace to connect the street level to bayou level? Read more about the Rice Design Alliance’s 2018 Spring Charrette. See below for a list of key dates.

    • Jan. 19, 2018  – Competition Registration Deadline
    • Jan. 20, 2018 at 9:30am – Site Visit from 1019 Commerce Street
    • Jan. 27, 2018 from 8:30am to 5pm Design Charrette
    • Jan. 29, 2018 from 4pm to 6pm – Presentation to jury,
      6pm to 8pm, Reception and Award
  7. Planning Matters – Lunch with the Mayor
    On Jan. 23, 2018, 11:30 – 1:30 pm, in the Legacy Room of City Hall, join Blueprint Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner for lunch as they speak of Houston’s future. Mayor Turner will present an update on his activities, and Blueprint Houston will host a conversation about planning the City’s future and using Plan Houston to prepare for the “next million.” Blueprint Houston hopes to explore questions such as “How will the Houston area handle 1 million more in population?” and “How will Houston support and sustain its neighborhoods?” Please RSVP by Jan. 18 to [email protected] or call 713-870-2881.
  8. The Houston Climate Forum 2018 – Texas’ 7th District Congressional Candidates
    On Saturday, January 27, 2018, 12:30pm-4pm, join Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Texas’ 7th District Congressional Candidates–Joshua Butler, James Cargas, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Laura Moser, Ivan Sanchez, Alex Triantaphyllis, and Jason Westin, M.D.–to learn about Congressional Candidate positions related to climate, energy, and environmental issues and solutions, nationally and locally, in an open forum. Bring your questions to this meeting at Rice University’s Keck Hall. The forum will be moderated by Daniel Cohan, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Rice. Hosted by 350.org-Houston, Pantsuit Republic-Houston Climate and Environmental Racism Committee (CERC), Indivisible-Houston, and Texans For Climate Change Action. Learn more and RSVP on eventbrite.
  9. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 p.m. each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.
    • San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site: On April 21, 1836, Texas won its independence when an outnumbered Texan Army defeated Mexican forces on the plains of San Jacinto. The Monument built in remembrance of the battle stands on the flat Texas wetlands along the Houston ship channel. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the history of Texas – a soaring monument to commemorate a small battle with huge consequences.
    • Nesting Shrikes: The Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird with a raptor’s habits.
    • Beautiful Butterflies: Butterflies bring beauty and business to Texas each year. Are we being good hosts?
    • Outdoor Families: Texas Outdoor Family was created to help those with very little experience in nature to find the joys of the outdoors “with no experience necessary.”

Additional Upcoming Events